"Gifted and talented children" shall mean those children in grades K-12 who excel, or have the potential to excel, beyond their age peers, in the regular school program, to the extent that they need and can benefit from programs for the gifted and talented. Gifted and talented children shall receive specialized instruction through these programs if they have exceptional ability, aptitude, skill, or creativity in one or more of the following categories:
- General Intellectual Ability as shown by demonstrated significant achievement or potential for significant accomplishment above their age peers in all academic areas
- Specific Academic Aptitude as shown by demonstrated significant achievement or potential for significant accomplishment above their age peers in one or more academic area(s)
- Artistic Ability as shown by demonstrated significant achievement or potential for significant accomplishment above their age peers in the literary, performing, and/or visual arts (Maine Education Rules, Chap. 104)
Giftedness, intelligence, and talent are fluid concepts and may look different in different contexts and cultures. Even within schools you will find a range of beliefs about the word "gifted," which has become a term with multiple meanings and much nuance.
Gifted children may develop asynchronously: their minds are often ahead of their physical growth, and specific cognitive and social-emotional functions can develop unevenly. Some gifted children with exceptional aptitude may not demonstrate outstanding levels of achievement due to environmental circumstances such as limited opportunities to learn as a result of poverty, discrimination, or cultural barriers; due to physical or learning disabilities; or due to motivational or emotional problems. This dichotomy between potential for and demonstrated achievement has implications for schools as they design programs and services for gifted students.
NAGC does not subscribe to any one theory of the nature of human abilities or their origins. We assert that there are children who demonstrate high performance, or who have the potential to do so, and that we have a responsibility to provide optimal educational experiences to fully develop talents in as many children as possible, for the benefit of the individual and the community.
Definitions provide the framework for gifted education programs and services, and guide key decisions such as which students will qualify for services, the areas of giftedness to be addressed in programming (e.g., intellectual giftedness generally, specific abilities in math), when the services will be offered, and even why they will be offered. There is no universally accepted definition of giftedness.